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Old 04-25-2007, 08:27 AM   #1
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Axle weight ratings

If I were to find a good used axle (contradiction in terms?) how do I determine the load capacity? Is there a stamp or plate, etc.?

I realize replacing a used bad axle with another used axle may be asking for trouble, but I know where there is a set on a trailer I can get for free and it seems it is at least worth checking out.

Will axles from newer coaches, say 2000+ fit vintage coaches, say my 73?
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Old 04-25-2007, 08:44 AM   #2
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I'm not an expert but let's start. Like current Airstreams, your '73 has a torsion axle. It might be a deal killer if the 'found' axles have leaf springs. I do know that welding bolt tabs on a torsion axle ruins the rubber rods inside. I suspect you'll find you only want to do this with an Airstream-specific axle. Put on a hard hat and browse more of this axle subforum while waiting for the 'sperts to chime in. Let us know what you do!
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Old 04-25-2007, 08:57 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CanoeStream
It might be a deal killer if the 'found' axles have leaf springs. I do know that welding bolt tabs on a torsion axle ruins the rubber rods inside. I suspect you'll find you only want to do this with an Airstream-specific axle.
I have pretty much dismissed out of hand putting on an axle with leaf springs. I assume they would significantly change the towing characteristics and not for the better. But has anybody done this successfully?

What I am thinking of is getting the axles off an Airstream wreck.
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Old 04-25-2007, 10:04 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Marshall
I have pretty much dismissed out of hand putting on an axle with leaf springs. I assume they would significantly change the towing characteristics and not for the better. But has anybody done this successfully?

What I am thinking of is getting the axles off an Airstream wreck.
What is the condition of the axles off the wreck? Was it a roll over? If so, more than likely the axles are out of alignment.

They could be worse than yours.

Late model axles will not fit older coaches.

The weight rating is on a plate that is welded to the axle tube.

CAUTION: DO NOT exceed the rating of your current axles by more than ten percent.

Andy
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Old 04-25-2007, 10:09 AM   #5
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Henschen axles are suposed have a weight rating tag afixed to the axle. Things to look for are the rating tag, as axles differ because of the number of axles and the size of the original trailer, and down angle of the spindle arm. The Henschen axle will sag over time as the rubber mounts inside the axle age so look at the down angle as a first indicator.
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Old 04-25-2007, 10:24 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by HowieE
The Henschen axle will sag over time as the rubber mounts inside the axle age so look at the down angle as a first indicator.

ALL BRANDS OF TORSION AXLES can sag over a period of time, but not necessarily so. That problem is "NOT" exclusive to Henschen.

Sagging has to do with lack of use, and/or bad rubber rods, which is usually dictated by the composition of the rubber.

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Old 04-25-2007, 11:44 AM   #7
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If you manage to find a coach that doesn't have bad axles with the correct rating, you need to get both axles from the wreck. The used axles are going to have a different amount of usage, and the spring rate and ride height will be slightly different. Different ride heights will promote higher loads on the "taller" axle, leading to increased tire wear, hotter wheel bearings, and a "wierd" feeling tow.
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Old 04-25-2007, 12:38 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by overlander63
If you manage to find a coach that doesn't have bad axles with the correct rating, you need to get both axles from the wreck. The used axles are going to have a different amount of usage, and the spring rate and ride height will be slightly different. Different ride heights will promote higher loads on the "taller" axle, leading to increased tire wear, hotter wheel bearings, and a "wierd" feeling tow.
Absolutely correct.

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Old 04-25-2007, 12:49 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marshall
I have pretty much dismissed out of hand putting on an axle with leaf springs. I assume they would significantly change the towing characteristics and not for the better.
It really raises the ride height of the coach -- and the legendary stability goes out the window. Airstreams did use leaf springs until ... some time in the '50s? I agree -- you won't find great solutions in this direction.
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Old 04-25-2007, 02:11 PM   #10
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Leaf spring axles were stopped in the early 60's for Airstream. (Other manufacturers I have no clue)

You may also have a have a width issue. IE your 70's trailers will be about 7.5' wide, newer trailers could be wider. Up to 8.5' wide. So the axles will be made wider to accomodate.

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Old 04-25-2007, 03:05 PM   #11
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I disagree that leaf springs less stable and less desirable. And they do not increase the ride height.

The original single drop axle leaf spring set up used in my '59 is very stable. The axle has more "travel" than a torsion axle, and the very long leaves give a soft ride like an old Continental. Also, you can adjust the ride and load capacity by adding or subtracting leaves. And they don't wear out like a torsion axle.

The above statement aside, I don't know if the same holds true for dual axle set-up, and I certainly wouldn't use a set of used leaf springs, or a set of utility trailer springs.
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Old 04-25-2007, 03:54 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markdoane
IThe original single drop axle leaf spring set up used in my '59 is very stable. The axle has more "travel" than a torsion axle, and the very long leaves give a soft ride like an old Continental.
An interesting comment; it's occurred to me that my Overlander rides like an old Cadillac. Go over a bump, and it rises and settles calmly and gracefully.
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Old 04-25-2007, 04:06 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markdoane
I Also, you can adjust the ride and load capacity by adding or subtracting leaves. And they don't wear out like a torsion axle.
Torsion axles do not wear out.

The rubber rods used by Henschen prior to 1974, did indeed take a set, because of the composition of the rubber.

The rubber rods since 1974 and up, can take a set (be destroyed), by parking the trailer and not using for about 3 years or more.

All torsion axles, regardless of manufacture, can have the rubber rods ruined, by simply not using the trailer, for an extended period of time.

Spindles break, bearings seize, alignment changes, damage from an accident, all can ruin a torsion axle and render it useless.

But wear out, just doesn't happen.

Leaf spring bushings, do wear out.

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Old 04-25-2007, 04:43 PM   #14
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Andy,

I think you are just talking about definations. If a torsion axle takes a permanent set, it's worn out. IE not really usable any more.

And spindles could break, bearings could seize, alignment changes or damage from an accident can happen on any axle.

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Old 04-25-2007, 04:44 PM   #15
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Take your pick

Quote:
Originally Posted by Inland RV Center, In
Torsion axles do not wear out...

... All torsion axles, regardless of manufacture, can have the rubber rods ruined, ...

... Leaf spring bushings, do wear out.
Crap-out or wear-out. Regardless, something has to be done to either axle type to restore a cush ride.

In somewhat of a dichotomy, if one regularly uses a torsion axle, it will take longer for the axle to crap out whereas using a leaf spring axle regularly will wear out the bushings.

OTOH, a leaf spring axle will last forever if not used whereas a torsion axle becomes "toast" after three years of non-use.

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Old 04-25-2007, 04:59 PM   #16
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In somewhat of a dichotomy, if one regularly uses a torsion axle, it will take longer for the axle to crap out whereas using a leaf spring axle regularly will wear out the bushings.

Tom
I don't mind replacing the bushings every 30,000 miles. They only cost $15.
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Old 04-25-2007, 05:03 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markdoane
I don't mind replacing the bushings every 30,000 miles. They only cost $15.
Not sure about Air Streams, in some of the 60's vintage cars buying the bushing is the EZ part. Getting the labor done that's another story.

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Old 04-25-2007, 05:06 PM   #18
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Each?

Quote:
Originally Posted by markdoane
I don't mind replacing the bushings every 30,000 miles. They only cost $15.
Yeah, but multiply that by the four bushings you need, and your parts charge will start to mount.

Now, if I bounce that off of the cost of replacing my genuine Dura-torques, let's see...

Uh, never mind.

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Old 04-25-2007, 05:12 PM   #19
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Yeah, but multiply that by the four bushings you need, and your parts charge will start to mount.

Now, if I bounce that off of the cost of replacing my genuine Dura-torques, let's see...

Uh, never mind.

Tom
But for $15 each, I can get the high tech urethane bushings.
. . . then I only need to change them every 150,000 miles!
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Old 04-25-2007, 07:50 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlbertF
An interesting comment; it's occurred to me that my Overlander rides like an old Cadillac. Go over a bump, and it rises and settles calmly and gracefully.
That's what I want........to ride like an old Cadillac. I'm getting the old part down. The other part is a work in progress
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